As a mom do you ever find it difficult being present with your children? I mean REALLY present.
I'll put my hand up first.
Electronics- The Struggle is Real
This year has been the biggest challenge for me to be present with my kids & for them to be present with me.
Over the last few months, I have done a lot of praying, thinking and research and I have put into practice different steps in order to change that.
A typical day for me looks something like this;
• waking up between 6:30am-7am
• make lunches
• make breakfast
• do make up
• get dressed
• 9am – leave for work
• 9:30am-2:30pm -work
• 3pm go home
• grocery shopping(you know always getting those things you can't keep in the house)
• arrive home
• chase at my kids to get their chores done
• clean up kitchen(it's a never ending battle)
• start supper
• eat with kids(when husband is home he eats with us)
• chase at kids to clean up kitchen (dishes from the dishwasher-so difficult right?)
• clean up kitchen AGAIN because I have OCD(I'm almost certain)
• Sign agendas
• chase kids to get home work done
• Throw on a load of laundry
• Wash the floors of needed
• chase kids to shower and brush teeth
• work on part time business
• Maybe spend time with kids(if they aren't on their video games, phones or out with friends)
• make snacks
• Chase kids to brush teeth and get ready for bed-like a hundred times!(keep in mind my kids are teens)
• 10pm kids are finally in bed, I lay down in bed and plan to read but can't keep my eyes open long enough…so, what do you do? You reach for your phone.
• FINALLY, your laying there in your bed and you know that you should be sleeping and shutting the phone off-HECK, you know you should have left it in the kitchen.
• So, it's now 12:15am and your having this discussion with yourself, "I have to shut this off, I need my sleep, it's so important, ok, once I read this last article(or Pinterest), I'm shutting it off; then all of a sudden, the article you were reading takes you to another link!!!! Ugh! What to do?
Why do we stay up late at night when we know we have to get up early to face a new day?
I'll tell you why I do, it's because by the time I'm in bed and settled down, that's the first time I have had time to myself all day and I just enjoy it so much I can't shut down.
Distractions Good and Bad
My son comes up to talk to me when I just sat down on the couch for the first time at the end of the day.
This is what happens, keep in mind some of these are neither good nor bad-it's called life.
• I'm so tired because I didn't get the right amount of sleep the night before and so as he is talking to me, I am only half present. I find myself distracted even by the simplest things.
• Next thing I know, I hear the phone notification from my text messages and I catch myself too late, I've already ran to check who just messaged me.
• Husband calls me from work to talk and say goodnight on his break.
• I realize I ran out of school snacks and need to run to the store.
• Some sales guy knocks on the door
• a family member (whom I love dearly) calls me for the 5th time that day.
Side Note: Not sure if any of you moms feel this way, but my trips to the grocery store often involve windows down, music cranked and a speed of 5km/hour. Many grocery trips saved my sanity over the years.
The TWO letter word…
I have learned over the last several years that the first thing we need to do in order to be more present with our children(I'll speak about our spouses in another blog), is to learn to say NO!
As women, we are naturally nurturers, givers and helpers. We have a hard time saying no. Practice now saying NO!…here is a great book on setting boundaries without the guilt(checkyour local library to rent it) Boundaries
Being present today with our children can definitely be a challenge with all the "noise" and "busyness". So intentionality is the only way we will master this skill. It is possible.
Being Present…taking Action
If you do not have a journal yet; you REALLY need one. A phone "app" task list is not as effective. Writing it down increases our chances of sticking to your plans. You can get really cute ones at the dollar store.
Meal prep! Yes, I know at first it can seem overwhelming but like everything, it will get easier over time-you will be glad you started. Here is a great link to start 10 Tips to meals Meal Prep Easier
Get a fancy box with a lid(dollar store), and make it a cell phone lock up box. We recently had a discussion about "back to school" laws for the house with our three teens. This is what it will look like; each teen has to hand in their phone in the box by a certain time for the rest of the night. They get it back the next morning.
DON'T forget MOM's & DAD's, that means you too. Pick a time to put your phone away and stick to it.
This may sound terrible but, schedule dates with your kids -individually. Even if it's just going for a drive and getting a drink. Spend that quality time together. Make eye contact when their talking to you, be present.
Don't pick up your phone unless it's an emergency. I have specific ring tones for certain people who I would only pick up for, mainly my husband, kids, my mom and mother in law.
Teen years have been the most challenging I will say, but I have come to the conclusion that my husband and I made the decision to have these amazing, handsome boys and they need us just as much now as they did when they were younger.
As much as I crave that time alone, my husband and I have the responsibility of raising our children to the best of our ability and if that means that we don't stay up till 1230am to get that alone time than that's what it means. In saying that, make sure to schedule time for yourself & your spouse for time alone(that's another blog).
Last but not least, ALWAYS hug and kiss them good night-even when they are teenagers.